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Authorities: Suspicious person response delayed by lack of official report

Over the last 12 hours, several local Facebook groups exploded with comments and reactions after several individuals posted warning local parents about an incident that allegedly took place Tuesday afternoon in the Whisper Point neighborhood in north Forsyth.

According to the posts, “a man in a 90s silver Dodge Shadow or Spirit” pulled up next to a child walking home from a bus stop and attempted to get the child in the car before driving away. The posts state that a neighbor saw the vehicle driving away and that “police were called.”

The child’s mother, who wished to remain anonymous, told the FCN that both she and her daughter were terrified by the incident and until later Tuesday evening all they had was a brief description of the man. 

She said that her daughter described the suspect as a bald man with dark skin, driving a car.

“Later in the evening is when I got a message from a neighbor they could identify the car,” the mother said, explaining why they did not immediately call 911. “First thing this morning I saw an officer posted in our neighborhood. I stopped and spoke with him. Gave him a description of the car and thanked him for being there.”

According to Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Cpl. Doug Rainwater, because no 911 calls or official reports have been filed for this incident, deputies didn’t respond to the scene until earlier Wednesday morning.

Rainwater said at this point they are trying to get basic details on the incident.

“We have to start with a 911 call, and so far we have no victim, no complainant,” Rainwater said. “All we have is a Facebook post made yesterday.”

He said that after Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman was contacted online, he assigned several deputies to watch over the neighborhood. Freeman told the FCN he spoke with the child’s mother Wednesday afternoon.

Due to the seriousness and rarity of incidents like this, Rainwater said that the sheriff’s office is trained to immediately respond in force to interview witnesses and issue a BOLO for suspects. But for that to happen, someone has to call authorities.

“These claims are thoroughly investigated if a report is made … We go all out,” Rainwater said. “You can’t just post it online. You have to notify us (by calling) 911.”

Freeman told the FCN Wednesday afternoon that the sheriff’s office will continue to have a presence in the north Forsyth area as they investigate this incident.